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Kindness can make you a better leader

Reading time:  2 Minutes

Studies by the University of Oxford and Harvard Business school show that one of the best management techniques to increase productivity is kindness


There are numerous corporate leadership manuals available, all focusing on engagement, performance and how to get the best results from your team. But one of the best techniques to increase productivity has been found to be very simple: kindness.

So how can companies take a kinder approach to leading their teams?

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist from Harvard Business School, along with her research partners, has conducted a lengthy study which has shown that leaders who demonstrate warmth and kindness are much more effective than those who work by the ‘treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen’ rule of thumb. The extensive research has shown that kindness accelerates the building of trust in business relationships and in turn will increase an employee’s performance at work far quicker than putting the pressure on.

This news ties in well with the recent research results found by British universities. After analysing hundreds of published papers studying the relationship between kindness and happiness, researchers at the University of Oxford have uncovered 21 different studies which prove that being kind to others makes us happier as a result.

And it seems this shortcut to happiness transfers to the business realm too. Management teams who take a kinder approach to leadership will find their employees work better and they will see improved productivity from their teams. Global research by the OC Tanner Institute, which studied 12,000 employees across 12 countries, showed that recognition from bosses had a profound impact on the work culture in the office. It proved that, above anything else, being recognised for doing a good job inspired employees to do well at work and came out top over a pay rise, promotion or autonomy.

Offering adequate support and good feedback is another notion which sometimes gets lost in translation between management and staff. A ten-year study by Harvard Business Review shows that one of the reasons that some executives aren’t being promoted is because they’re unable to build trusting relationships with their managers. Business leaders can improve this by serving their more critical feedback a little more kindly.

Add in the research from the University of Warwick, which has shown that happier employees are in fact 12% more productive in their jobs than those who are unhappy, and it shows that taking a kinder approach to management is one of the key tools for success.

Company directors and managers have a chance to install kindness in their staff everyday by leading by example. So, if an employee impresses a new client, leaders must recognise it and celebrate it freely as it will inspire them and others to do well. Flexible working is proving to be one of the key needs of employees in recent years as we search for a better work-life balance. There are many proven benefits from increased productivity, happier employees and a reduced risk of executive burnout.

Employing a flexible office solution such as co-working spaces or serviced offices, which can reduce the time spent commuting and give employees more autonomy, will instil a deeper level of trust between management and staff who, allowed to work on their own time scale, can still produce great results.


Find out more about flexible working by seeking out the nearest Regus office to you.